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HTC Sense 6 ROM for Nexus 5 now available

Posted by wicked April - 16 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

The Nexus 5 was made to be played around with and nowhere is that fact more evident than in the number of custom ROMs available for the smartphone. Now another one joins the ranks, bringing along with it a so far rare feature: HTC‘s custom Sense UI, version 6.

The HTC Sense 6 is barely out the door, making its debut with the HTC One M8 last month. The update to HTC’s custom Android interface brought in a new look, new features, and a new way of rolling out updates to key Sense components. However, availability of Sense 6 is, of course, limited, currently only on the One M8 but will still be constricted to HTC devices. That is, unless you own a Nexus 5.

This latest ROM from XDA Recognized Contributor GalaxyUser takes the HTC Sense 6 and dumps it on Google’s latest smartphone. It is very much a work in progress but a good number of basic functionality is already present, such as touchscreen, SMS and phone calls, WiFi, internal storage, Bluetooth, and some sensors. Unfortunately, sound still isn’t working and neither is the camera. It is still in the very early stages of development, so there might still be some future updates that will fix these issues.

One big disclaimer is that ROM is still in alpha and while the author is grateful for people giving it a test, he isn’t yet interested in bug reports or feedback and would prefer developers to sign up for some of the tasks lying around. Installing the ROM, of course, requires booting into recovery and flashing some downloaded ZIP files, which is one of the things Nexus devices are great for.

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VIA: XDA

Xperia firmware check website keeps tabs on available Sony Xperia updates

Posted by wicked April - 15 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Android 4.4 has been rolling out to some Sony Xperia devices, and even some older ones are just getting updated to Android 4.3. If keeping track of which update has arrived for which device has your head spinning, then this new online tool might just help to keep you from going insane.

Keeping track of Android updates is no easy job. Keeping track of manufacturer-specific firmware updates is even more so. While the former is more often than not reported on Android sites like this, the latter, especially minor updates, are usually given a pass. But for Xperia users who are interested or just even curious about the latest firmware available for their device, or someone else’s, this website from XDA member pascalbrax can help you find out that information.

The site won’t win any design awards, but it tries to get the job done, somewhat. Users can enter pick their device from a long list of Xperia devices, including regional variants, and optionally enter their Customization number. This will then return the version of the latest firmware available for your device. It even offers a link to the exact model for you to bookmark as well as an image that gets automatically updated with the correct build number, which you can then use in sites like forums or blogs.

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This firmware check site is still quite rough around the edges, though hopefully it will improve as time goes by. For one, users won’t be able to download the exact firmware that they want. For that, they could use a Windows-only tool to check for firmware updates and download them too. But more importantly, it only gives out the firmware version, which is useful for only checking if you’re device is behind on updates. To find out other details about the firmware, even something as basic as Android version, users will have to cross-reference it with other sources of information. Not exactly the most convenient process, but it’s definitely a start.

SOURCE: firmware check
VIA: XDA

Google Play Edition ROMs now available for HTC One (M8)

Posted by wicked April - 7 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

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New HTC One (M8) owners who had to go the subsidized or payment plan route with their carrier instead of plunking down $700 for a Google Play Edition(GPE) version now have an option to get the GPE experience on their new device. XDA Forum moderator graffixnyc has posted up instructions, with links to the necessary files, to replace the HTC Sense version of the software that comes on non-GPE devices with rooted GPE software.

graffixnyc has provided a couple versions of the GPE for an HTC One (M8). The first method uses a Nandroid backup image that is restored using Phil’s CWM. The other method is a stock GPE recovery that can be flashed through fastboot. graffixnyc indicates the ROM is unmodified except for being rooted, the installation of busybox, the kernel module that disables write protection on the system has been removed, and an inverted stock MMS client is included.

If you want to install the GPE on your shiny, new HTC One (M8), follow the source link over to the XDA Developer Forum. Just keep in mind you will be responsible for anything bad that happens if flashing your device fails.

source: XDA Forum

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HTC One M8 Sense 6 apps extracted and distributed

Posted by wicked April - 1 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

If you’ve been enamored by some of the apps on the brand new HTC One M8 but don’t want to switch phones just for that, then there is a sliver of hope for you. Over at XDA, the process of extracting the said apps and libraries has been started, in the hopes of someday making them available to other devices as well.

This process has somewhat been made easier by the fact that HTC pushed some of its apps to Google Play Store. The implied purpose is to make updates easier for HTC to roll out and make available for their line of devices. It was probably never intended that someone would download those and try to make them available for other audiences, though that was definitely part of the risk.

The Sense 6 apps include Blinkfeed, Zoe, Gallery, Sense TV, and their required libraries. Of course, these apps are far from being universal Android apps and it is likely they may never be. Apps for the Xperia Z2 have similarly been extracted and ported but only work on Sony Xperia smartphones. The process, however, is still in the early stages and can still progress further than that.

Right now, not everything is working. The HTC Service Pack and Sense TV are marked as working but the rest aren’t. These apps aren’t ported yet and are provided as is and may or may not even install. Of course, they all work an an HTC One M8 but installing these apps this way requires root access.

VIA: XDA

Sidebar Launcher keeps your favorite actions just a swipe away

Posted by wicked March - 13 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

There will always be times when you wished you had almost instant access to an app shortcut, setting, or other functionality wherever you are, without having to leave the current app. Sidebar Launcher tries to fill that need by providing some nifty multi-tasking abilities, accessible with a simple swipe from the side.

Bringing up Sidebar Launcher is easy and, as gestures usually go, can be quite habit forming. The entire functionality of this multi-tasking tool revolves around “cards”, practically configurable panels that contain common and configurable functionality. You have a card for Quick Settings, mostly the same things you’d find in notification panels, a card for functionality like Lock Screen, Home, or even Back, as well as a card for favorite apps. You can add some more cards, but the choices are limited and, as we’ll get to later, a bit costly.

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Configuring the launcher is not exactly straightforward. You mind find yourself trying to tap and hold in order to reorganize cards, but that functionality can only be exposed via an Edit button at the very bottom. Along with that button, you also have a Featured Apps button, a Shopping button, and a Settings button. Clicking on the last one will bring you to a page where you can configure which side the launcher will be docked in and how long the trigger area will be. Each card can be individually configured, particularly the shortcuts. Strangely, you can’t seem to rearrange the icons in those cards so you’ll be forced to remove and re-add them in your preferred order.

Readers might see some semblance with Action Launcher, which we reviewed in its 2.0 incarnation last December. There are a few key differences though. For one, despite its name, Sidebar Launcher doesn’t actually take over your homescreen launcher. Sure, it has its own app launcher grid, but it can safely be used alongside a regular launcher. Also, Sidebar Launcher can be activated from any screen or within any app, a feature you will have to pay for with Action Launcher.

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That said, Sidebar Launcher isn’t completely free. Some of its more useful cards need to be purchased, either separately at $1.99 a piece or in a $2.99 bundle, and you might be faced with ads as well. In particular, you might want the Shortcuts card since the Favorite Apps card is limited to only 10 shortcuts. Sidebar Launcher is still a bit rough around the edges, and slow in some instances, but it shows promise and could grow up to be included in a multitasker’s utility belt.

A final note to users, Sidebar Launcher offers some functionality that requires root privileges, like the Back and Menu functions, but those are optional. It also has a button for locking the screen but that requires adding Sidebar Launcher to the device administrators, which has to be undone before uninstalling the launcher.

Download: Sidebar Launcher on Google Play Store
VIA: XDA

Nokia Store Android app unofficially available for sideloading

Posted by wicked February - 28 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Those rooting for Nokia’s new Android romance might be happy to know that they can now install the Nokia Store app on their devices. While it doesn’t really let you install Nokia-specific apps, it could signal the start of Nokia‘s apps getting ported to other devices, whether they like it or not.

Love it or not, and some manufacturers probably don’t, one of the things the Android community is skilled at is getting brand-specific features or apps available to other devices, at least when technically possible. It does sort of level out the playing field a bit, but in some cases the apps don’t fully work on other devices anyway.

Such is somewhat the case with Nokia’s own Android store app. Since Nokia’s shiny new Nokia X and XL Android smartphones aren’t Google-certified, the Finnish company had to make do with providing users with an alternative app marketplace, not an unusual practice among some device vendors. In any case, the Nokia Store app has now been ported, unofficially of course, to other devices and curious users can test out the Android app economy from Nokia’s eyes.

Of course, not everything in the Nokia Store catalog will be working. The absence of Google Mobile Services will definitely leave out some apps that make use of Google’s API. But Nokia has also introduced its own framework and APIs on the Nokia X line, so apps that make use of those won’t work either. Hopefully we’ll see further efforts in making those, as well as some Nokia apps, available in the future as well.

VIA: XDA

Icon Helper for icon packs streamlines the request process between users and developers

Posted by wicked February - 12 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

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Icon packs are one of the greatest features of Android. There’s a ton of them on the Play Store to help you completely tweak and customize your home screens and icons to make everything look exactly how you want it to.  Sometimes, though, that perfect icon pack that fits so well with everything else on your device is missing just one or two app icons for some of your favorite apps.

To help solve this problem, XDA developer tung91 has created a small tool that will help users easily send requests to developers of icon packs. This tool has to be manually added to icon packs by developers, which adds a small request button in the icon pack’s interface. Users can hit that request button to send a report of what apps they would like themed (it only shows unthemed apps, so you won’t have to scroll through hundreds of apps that are already assigned a custom icon) for the developer to see and work on. It’s a quick, relatively painless process.

The code for this request does have to be manually added in by developers, and users will have to sideload a small apk to make the request feature work, but for users that are really into using icon packs and tweaking their devices, this is going to be a pretty handy tool to have.

source: XDA

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Holofication Nation Looks to Remodel Popular Android Apps Under the Android Design Guidelines

Posted by wicked February - 4 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Android has come a long way over the years, but unfortunately for users, just because an application is released on Android at the same time as iOS, doesn’t mean that it will use all that the open platform has to offer. Google has published an Android Design Guideline as a start for developers who want to make their apps look good and handle well, but a few major developers choose to not follow the guides. The XDA group Holofication Nation is looking to change that. 

Big name apps like Instagram, Snapchat, GrooveShark and Steam are all in the sights of Holo Nation. Their mission is a simple one: “Our goal is simple, to do what those big companies can’t do, make a decent UI.” The team currently consists of two developers that are re-tooling these applications to look more like they belong on Android. The list of features they would like to bring to the apps contains adding action bars across the top and bottom, hamburger menus when necessary, and cleaning up color schemes.

To install these modded apps, you have to uninstall the official ones, but early reports of the developer’s work are promising.

Facebook is not on the list of apps to be worked on due to server-side control over the user interface. In the future, Holo Nation hopes to have an central hub-like application that keeps all of their other modded apps updated.

For now, head over to their XDA thread and check out these re-styled apps.

Via: XDA

Automate device settings with TF Profile app

Posted by wicked January - 26 - 2014 - Sunday Comments Off

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Many Android smartphone users have learned over time that certain settings are frequently set for common occurrences or situations and it can be a real drag to constantly make the changes manually. For instance, when going to bed at night, trying to remember to turn sounds off or switching off Wi-Fi when hopping in the car for a drive so you can save battery life. Numerous solutions have cropped up like the use of NFC tags with Tasker or even installation of alternative launchers. If you want something a little more lightweight, XDA forum member j2187 has released TF Profile – Profile Scheduler to Google Play to help automate a variety of chores.

TF Profile enables users to setup a total of five different profiles. Each profile can be configured with a variety of settings related to Network features, Sound, Display options, and even some actions like launching an app or setting an alarm. Just tap on a profile to switch to it.

The app is free so head on over to Google Play to check it out after taking a look at some of the screenshots below.

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Google Play Download Link

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Unofficial method to connect Galaxy Gear to Nexus 5 worked out

Posted by wicked January - 22 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

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Over on the XDA Developers site, forum member pcelli figured out how to get a Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch working with his Nexus 5 smartphone. This had to be done on an unofficial basis as up to now Samsung has only enabled support for the Galaxy Gear with other Samsung devices. Although there have been some hints indicating Samsung may eventually break down the wall around that particular garden, getting a Galaxy Gear to work with a non-Samsung device may never be officially supported.

According to pcelli success was achieved through the installation of several different APK files on the Nexus 5. In early testing, the following functions are working:

  • contacts
  • call logs
  • gallery
  • camera (sending to and from the smartphone’s gallery)
  • make and receive calls
  • record voice messages
  • notifications

At this point, the Weather and S Voice functions are not working, likely because they are part of Samsung’s TouchWiz. SamMobile has done some additional testing and indicated they were able to get this method to work with a Nexus 7.

If you have a Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 and a Galaxy Gear, head on over to the source link for the directions outlining the APKs to be installed if you want to give it a try.

source: XDA Developers Forum
via: SamMobile

Come comment on this article: Unofficial method to connect Galaxy Gear to Nexus 5 worked out

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